Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Christmas

I have had a lovely Christmas this year - who knew that I would get to spend it with my Mum, brother and sil, and 1 niece, 2 nephews and my two of course, the only one missing for me was Devin. 


I cooked a full on dinner which turned out perfectly if I say so myself (never quite worked out why people say turkey is dry??) 


I received some beautiful presents from DH and the kids, but I still don't feel that happy about where we stand financially :( I can write that can't I?   I am kinda over telling myself that Christmas is not about the presents for me is still is important and I get so much pleasure from giving that obviously I am a bit down when I can't give what I would like to.



I start a new 2 1/2 day job in January - a sort of brain dead admin job but I took it because that is how I have been feeling - brain dead and it could develop into something more one day.  I am also working for a charity as a project manager  - not so brain dead which could also develop into a half week position but at this stage its pro bono so that won't be satisfying my financial requirements just yet.


Sunday, 11 December 2011

Saturday Afternoon

I haven't been blogging lately purely because I have nothing to say but for my friends out there who really want to know what I am doing day to day I thought I try a little harder to just 'blog' stuff around me and if its boring so be it.


I attempted to get my act together today after spending way too much time lately doing NOTHING I suppose  I am actually depressed although I don't particular show it at least I don't think I do and being on anti-depressants permanently sure takes the edge off.  I know I am feeling better about things when I head for the kitchen.....


I made a delicious cauliflower soup, something that would not grab me normally.  DH was seriously impressed and reckoned it was right up there with my butternut soup.





So we sat decadently eating this cauliflower soup with crusty organic bread for lunch. If any of you would like the recipe it is from this book... or inbox me and I will send it to you.




Delectable by Marlene van der Westhuizen, the recipes are so easy, have very few ingredients but have a sort of elegance about them.  The book is worth buying just for the pictures of the authors house in France.



Thursday, 24 November 2011

The last born!



I took E out to do some clothes shopping on the weekend and these pics are a result of the ensuing fashion show.  What a difference, she looked so grown up and elegant, she is so incredibly graceful it is like having a gazelle around.  


Please note the brogues oh and of course the ironing in the back ground ;)


We also had E's parents evening last week at school and again we were pleasantly surprised at how well she is doing with a B predicted for Spanish and a C for French at the end of her GCSE's she should go on to do her A levels.  She is still struggling a little with anxiety so we are seeing a therapist tomorrow for a alternative type of therapy so fingers crossed.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Middle Son


This is S's latest magazine subscription, perhaps not what one would expect from their 18 year old?  He reads it from cover to cover every week!  Like Mel said on her recent visit to us 'if he wasn't so good looking he would be a total nerd!


We have also just learnt that he won't be able to go to uni next year as we haven't been in the country long enough for him to get his studies financed (9k a year) so he has to wait another year, it is such a pity as he is so ready to go, one saving grace he has had two offers of places for the following year and both are good uni's.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Pulling Myself Together



I received this pic in an email from an old friend this morning and you know how things can just resonate with you?  Last week I had a few things to do and people to see and I found myself dreading going out and talking to people.  I was convinced that I would get myself into a corner trying to defend my actions and behaviour etc. in regard to leaving my job.  I can honestly say that I was a completely different person when faced with both situations, I was terrified so I of course didn't initiate any conversation or much conversation with anyone - FACT nobody even asked me about my job only at the Christening on Sunday my friends hubby said we should have asked you to arrange this (that would have been a good thing) and that was that, I smiled, laughed nervously and conversation over!  so now I can get over myself, I feel a lot better.





Thursday, 10 November 2011

When will this go away?

I am not bouncing back in fact I feel like I committed a crime, I hope this goes away soon.  Living in UK has taught me a few things - even VIPs get fired or stand down for what I would consider not worth worrying about and I suppose it filters through to the way people think generally - Do No Wrong!


DH now tells me that the writing was on the wall, that my disenchantment with the place was obvious and it was only a matter of time.  Oh dear.


I had the most horrific nightmare last night - so bad that I was too scared to go back to sleep.  I was in Afghanistan, suspended under a tank with men being shot all around me but at the same time morphing into partly decomposed bodies and skeletons and even flattened body parts next to my face - totally horrific.  I then jumped up - in the nightmare and I was in a cinema 'watching' these atrocities and I shouted please put the lights on I have to get out.  I was then followed by about 50% of the audience.  I think it may mean - I need to stand up for what I believe in. :)


This pic is of the sofa in the Grand Hall - the room people get married in! When I said something I was told 'what is wrong with it?' seriously not a word of a lie, I was then told that if I had grown up in a 'big country home' (in other words of a different class) I would understand that old was infinitely better than anything new!  I don't get it - sorry and neither did the potential brides.














Friday, 4 November 2011

What Can I Say...

I feel totally ashamed, embarrassed and just plain stupid!!


I have been forced to resign from my job because I had a ranting with the owners wife.  I suppose I could say all sorts in my defence and maybe more about that in 2 months time but fact is my family rely on me to hold myself together and I just couldn't do it.


I am still very nervous of putting stuff on a blog so I will keep all the gory details for another time or email me.  


So I have two months to spend at home - glorious!  But after that I will probably be ready for a new challenge.  Yesterday I cleaned out the kitchen drawers and put on the dinner in a slow cooker at 2pm so domestic goddess for awhile.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

All Relative

I was sitting watching TV last night and playing around on my ipad 2 at the same time (multi tasking) and I ended up looking at holiday destinations and other gorgeous stuff to buy online.  I said to DH, I wish I had more savings and then we could go on a nice holiday but I just don't seem to be able to save.    Scott starts laughing at me and said 'Mom you are sitting watching cable TV playing on your iPad and feeling sorry for yourself - get a grip'.  Out of the mouth of babes even if they are 18!  

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Still Banging On About My Job

When I lived in SA I remember watching a TV programme about a young guy that wanted to start organic pig farming and as it happens he was also one of Jamie Oliver's best mates.  It was one of those trials and tribulations of starting up a business type productions and I quite enjoyed it, the guys name was Jimmy Doherty and I think they called the programme 'Jimmy's Farm' which is the name of his business today.  Fairly recently Jimmy came to the estate to film a programme about something completely different and I had a early morning meeting with him and the crew (from Jamie Oliver's production company) and even got to make him a cup of tea in a chipped cup! (That's for another day).   I left work that day thinking it was all very surreal really, I certainly wasn't star struck or anything as Jimmy is not exactly a star by any stretch of the imagination - it was just not something I ever thought I would get to do that's all.






Tuesday, 18 October 2011

All things Harry Potter



We had someone come in yesterday to demonstrate how this gorgeous male barn owl (only 6 months old) can deliver the wedding bands to the groom during the wedding ceremony.  Do I look like I am in my element?  He was completely stunning and softer than anything I had ever felt before.  So now I will be doing my best to 'sell' him to brides (got one already).


It also looks like I will have to pay for the damage to the statues and drive half way across the country to deliver them to a foundry that specialises in restoration of all things hundreds of years old.  The guy I spoke to was very sympathetic though once I explained my situation and he promised me he would sort something out.  I will keep you posted.







Thursday, 13 October 2011

One month later...


As it happens it is one month since I lasted blogged - sinful I know and completely ridiculous how can anyone be that busy? I am busy but not that busy.  I am considering updating my blog from work in my lunch time perhaps even a couple of days a week....let's see.


Where was I.... Scott's party.  I had a 'paranormal investigation' in the house (remember I work in a stately home) that same night which seemed like a good idea at the time because I was at 'work' anyway.  I was completely exhausted from the party and I then had to wait for the ghost busters to pack up their stuff - cameras etc.  Never a dull moment in this job I walked into the massive main room of the house to find the very large dining table - so large that it has never been moved from the room, it was built in the room, spinning off the ground.  Yes I saw it with my own eyes admittedly it was 2.15am and a good few glasses of wine later but I saw it.  So did my DH so I am not crazy.  


I walked in on Monday morning to some long faces and fortunately the owner of the house was away shooting stags up north.  Some of the youngsters had done some serious damage to 2 of the garden statues obviously antique  (solid lead).  They had been wrenched from their plinths and tossed around. This was all I needed.  Well its a month later and still nobody knows anything and I am still in the bad books of the lady of the house.  The owner and I are back to normal but that also took some pussy footing around and an offer from myself to pay for the damage - which I probably couldn't afford if he pursued it.








Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Oh What a Night!

I had Scotts 18th birthday party here at work on Saturday night, 100 teens. 


It all started off quite nicely all the girls arrived looking fabulous and the guys not looking too shabby either.  All appearing to be well mannered and politely acknowledging myself as Scotts mum and event manager of the venue.  I can't say I wasn't warned, but I had once again gone into that shut down mode where I refuse to delve into negative generalisations about teens and how they behave at parties. 


In this job I am constantly learning new ways of coping with situations 'on the job' and Saturday provided me with some humdingers.  Because the kids were 18 we had a cash bar with free coca cola etc. and the kids could order spirits/beer etc. and pay for it if they wanted - they wanted!  We have 2 wine fridges in the service area of the marquee which was basically 'unmanned' but generally one of us was in and out of there.  I caught a guy helping himself to a bottle of champagne.  With all these big people around (including me) why had we not thought to empty the fridges?? I relieved him of his shopping and sent him on his merry way without too much to say as I didn't and still don't see him as a thief, it just looked like a opportunity.   We then got very smart and locked the fridges or so we thought.  About an hour later we heard a tremendous bang and DH burst into the service area to catch 3 girls 'breaking into the fridge' and one of them had a bottle in her hand - again champagne, he ran after them but they got away after knocking a few people down.  I stopped the party for a few minutes and announced what had happened, most of the kids appeared quite shocked and some of them wanted to pay for the champagne. Bless (love that Brit saying).


So all that drama over, I get called outside to find a teen completely unconscious and lying in green vomit.  Mummy mode kicked in and I sorted her out and called an ambulance.  I love this country - I didn't need to worry about whether it was going to arrive and ever more important to me, having lived in SA I didn't need to worry about who would be footing the bill.  The ambulance took 15 mins (we are out in the sticks) but in the meantime a father collecting his daughter from the party just happened to be a Dr. so he took over within minutes of me discovering her and sat with her until the ambulance arrived.  The guys were brilliant, hooked her up to all sorts of stuff, on a stretcher and gone in 10 mins.  The girl (18) had drunk a bottle of apple sourz and is bulimic so hadn't eaten either.  So drama over......or so I thought....


  

Monday, 5 September 2011

Sunday 4 September

Since my last post
  • I had a quiet birthday and turned 49.  I am having a age crisis though, seriously struggling with this aging thing.  Seriously I am a bit ashamed really I feel pathetic on top of it.
  •  I had a couple of friends around for snacks and drinks and I got completely bored half way through.  Oh dear.....
  • Scott bought me a bottle of Michael Kors perfume, its divine and must suit me as people mention it all the time.
  • Scott turns 18 very soon and is having his party at the hall (work) OMG brat!!  Then all his 100 friends are camping on the croquet lawn.  
  • I tried some clothes on at a boutique yesterday that I fancied, I looked completely ridiculous - changing your style at 49 doesn't work regardless of the upcoming fashion.  I cant do knitted dresses, gorgeous leggings and even more gorgeous knee high boots!
  • Went to London last weekend for 2 days - LOVED it so did DH, we really need to do it more often, it was the first time we have actually walked around, shopped and chilled there.  We went on New Years Eve for a few hours but this was our first real trip since we got here.
  • My friend/neighbour that I have grown quite fond of turned on me!  She has had a stroke so she has a few problems but I witnessed them for the first time and it wasn't pretty - we are no longer friends - pity.  Her husband said to me it was only a matter of time.  
  • By 10am this morning I had ordered a book I couldn't get on Kindle, clothes and shoes and will probably have them tomorrow or latest Tuesday.  I am addicted to online shopping.
  • I have a big event coming up at work and I am starting to stress!! The making or breaking of me.
  • I am off now for 2 days as one of my best friends from Joburg is coming to stay.  I should be cleaning the house instead of doing this, anything to avoid hard core housework.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Constant Catch Up

That's how I feel with this blog constantly trying to catch up.  A few things really, I am not sure I want to blog anymore, just something someone said, 'a comment for a comment' WTF it just put me right off. I read peoples blog when I have the time and because I am interested in them - period.


So what is happening with me?  Last week I attended my 'speed awareness' course in order to avoid 3 points on my license, which would increase my insurance premium and eventually with enough points you lose your license.  I started the course with the same attitude as most of the people in the room - bad!  I came away enlighten and once again proud to be a Brit.  I was fined for driving at 36 miles in a 30 zone.  I spent nearly 4 hours finding out what happens to a person that is hit by a car at 30, 35, 40 miles, very interesting and great to know that somebody gives a toss about people on the roads.


I have had 2 big weddings take place at work and both left me absolutely exhausted.  The first one I spent 17 hours 'at the office' and the next one was a bit less but had double the amount of people here.  I am not so sure I can take the pace, my ankles, knees, back if fact just about everything ached.  That aside both went very well.


My knee has started to play up again and I am not allowed to go to gym for a week - damn and I was starting to enjoy it :) 


My teens are still driving me mad and I can honestly say that unless you are buying them stuff they are hideous! Cupboard love - it keeps them happy.




Talking of teens Scott has done really well in his exams and will be going off to university September 2012 although the choice is so vast he now can't decide on any, the picture is of just some of the brochures that just pour in every morning. 


   


Sunday, 24 July 2011

Sad Times

I had a frivolous and light post planned to on Friday night and then with the news of the bombings and shooting in Oslo it just didn't seem appropriate.  Such a gentle and peaceful nation it is going to take sometime before they bounce back - although STRONG is something I would tag any Norwegian.


So I thought I would write about something I know little about but my closest friends know lots about GOD.


Where I work we hire certain rooms out for weddings we also have the most beautiful and charming little church on the estate, I love going in there and as a traditionalist at heart I find it very peaceful.   Sadly, the church is not used very often for weddings as most of the couples getting married choose to have 'civil' ceremonies.  I have never attended a 'civil' wedding before so it was quite a surprise to hear that God, Heaven or anything related is 'not allowed' to be mentioned during the ceremony.  Oh I didn't like that!! I hear some of my friends sniggering :)  I mentioned this to a colleague who abruptly laughed in my face and said but there is no God or Heaven anyway so why are you surprised?  The pianist started to play and the wedding began. Conversation over......


This colleague is very interested in starting a blog - more a business blog than personal as she is quite a private person so I often chat to her about blogs.  I was reading Caz's blog on Friday during lunch and I read her 16 July post to my colleague to illustrate Caz's healing process on the loss of her baby nearly 2 years ago.  My colleague burst into tears!  The post was about Heaven...interesting?  And she has never lost a baby.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

I Love It

  • Erin is 'working' for the next  two weeks at a hair salon about 45 mins bus ride away, it is work experience fortnight, everywhere you go there are 15 years olds working.  She catches a bus to work and home again.  I love this country.  She is just blossoming from the independence.
  • Scott is looking like a Greek god, he has just arrived back from 2 weeks away on a Greek Island with his friends from school back in Cape Town.  I love this country - he paid every single penny for his trip, because he works and gets paid money he can do something with, his mates from Cape Town have never worked a day yet and speak of their dads getting them work ultimately because that's the way it works.  He is going into his last year of school in September - he has already started the work and is busy filling in his uni application forms - together with the study loan applications.  I love it.  
  • My teens are fun to have around at the moment, my house is buzzing in the morning with everyone off to work and looking all grown up.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Lessons in Shutting Up!!



I have a really great job and tomorrow (Sunday) is the very important Annual Shoot BBQ - 170 people that 'shoot' or are associated in some way.  I get to be invited along with my family 'just because' and I don't think it has occurred to anyone that not everyone gets off on shooting birds and bunnies but hey we get to eat, drink and be merry.   The season is not due to open just yet this is the celebration of the 'purchasing/releasing' of the juvenile birds (partridges and pheasants) into pens in the woods to fatten them up and protect them from other animals until they are a little bigger.  A bit like canned hunting really for all sorts of reasons I won't go into here, I heard that sign of relief.   E did a little clay pigeon shooting at the football event on Tuesday night so she is looking forward to doing a little more of that tomorrow.   A rare glimpse into another world - a world that I don't belong in but I feel a little privileged to have this opportunity to get to know these people as different as they are to you and I.  I have added the video which illustrates the gentry perfectly.  

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Bucket Lists

With Wimbledon still fresh in my mind I thought I would write an un-bucket list (things I don't have any intention of doing before I die) just for fun!

  • Wimbledon - I don't do crowds and totally overpriced tickets blah blah.
  • Glastonbury - couldn't think of anything worse.
  • Bungi jump.
  • Sky dive (well maybe).
  • Eat at a restaurant in Soweto or any other township.
  • Las Vegas.
  • Sleep in an ice hotel.
  • Stay in one of those Ashram thingies in India.
  • Have dinner with a famous person just because they are famous.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Highs and Lows

Busy day at work today but I have arrived home feeling a little down.  The bride and groom from one of the weddings I 'watched' over a couple of weeks ago popped in to see me and collect some belongings.  I don't think I mentioned that when they left their wedding I bundled the bride and dress into the limo and placed her sleeping baby on her lap and then her new hubby gave me a big hug and we ended up crying together!  Why?  Very very sad.  He is pretty much riddled with cancer and doesn't have that long left so they wanted to do the right thing and get married blah blah.  OMG can you imagine the scene.  Thank goodness I had only been told half way through the night by his Mum - so much about him fell into place (I often can't hear him because he slurs and gets very tired when he speaks).  Today I was a lot stronger but he seemed a little weaker, the honeymoon has drained him - poor soul.  What a lovely couple and I managed to stay dry eyed when they hugged me goodbye. 


On a fluffy and lighter note another reason to feel depressed one of the models from the photo shoot we have had all week is 30 and has 3 kids!!! for goodness sake - that is just wrong!!  I spoke to her like she was 16 (the other model was 16) and yes I do speak to 16 years olds differently especially as this one was from a country way up north and couldn't communicate that well.

Btw the photo shoot was for the glossy that starts with a V and after catching a glimpse of the girls now and again in the hallways I cannot imagine who would rush to buy the clothes as beautiful as they are.  I am looking forward to a week without beautiful people all over the place.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Blogging

My blogging mojo has been missing for some time now - but I wouldn't consider stopping, I know that anyone that reads it probably gets a bit frustrated with the whole thing,  I suppose I am no longer sure what to write about.  Work is a tricky one as we all know and when you work most of the time and it is the most exciting part of your day then hey what do you write about?  I find that if I write my opinion on anything - people scatter :) there are lots of issues I would willing put pen to paper on but its all so tricky.

I am at work at the moment way past the time I normally leave but I am waiting for a bunch of models and crew to arrive from London and they are stuck in traffic.  Their delivery guy dropped off the clothes earlier - still my beating heart he was soooo easy on the eye and a Welsh accent to go with it,  he called the dresses 'frocks' - how cute is that?  So here I am waiting for a bunch of very beautiful people including one of the worlds most famous fashion photographers......

A delivery company also called and asked how late I would be here to receive a delivery from Louis Vuitton - obviously stuff for the shoot or someone is sending me a handbag - not.    Oooooh cant wait to be hanging around when they open that box.

I joined the gym yesterday - not that I have much time to go but I am going to make time!  I wasn't allowed to actually use the gym yesterday due to health and safety reasons I first have to spend an hour with a trainer but I was allowed to swim (you get used to the health and safety thing here in the UK and start to pre-empt it at every turn).  So I embarrassed Erin and the two of us swam - serious character building stuff for her, Mum swimming in a costume with pant legs, mascara under my eyes and a nose clip hehe.

Speaking of E, I am still not officially speaking to her or her to me but we mumble which suits me just fine and she has agreed to 'sell' raffle tickets at one of my events this coming weekend and I am not paying her as we get so many invitations to parties/functions for the whole family that it's time to give back she seemed okay with that though.  Next week she will be meeting the entire county football team so that should make up for it too, that little bb is going to be working overtime.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Friday 17 June


Today it was badgers - please Lord grant me lots of patience and the ability to understand other points of view even if they are ridiculous :) I of course can't ask too many questions either.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Thursday 16 June

I haven't spoken to Erin for two weeks now nor has she spoken to me.  I had a huge wobbly with the whole family and she was earmarked by me as being the cause of most of it.  I am not the slightest bit concerned, this was long overdue.  I do feel that maybe 'mothering' is not my strength and I won't go to my grave saying I have no regrets.  My home is infinitely  more peaceful though especially now that she doesn't stomp off up the stairs when I walk into a room she is in, she does it on purpose because she knows it pushes lots of my buttons.  Note to self: never buy a house with a wooden first floor!


So this means that my salary at the end of this month is for ME I don't have to share it with an ungrateful teen!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Sunday 12 June

Work is becoming more challenging and interesting everyday.  I feel very comfortable with the job but at the same time I have never been put into so many situations that are difficult for me to handle/keep quiet!  All sounds very typical for me.... keeping quiet - challenging!






This week alone I was standing at the copier when the guys I work with started to discuss the fact that the owner of the estate had killed 4 fox cubs the night before but 1 had manage to get away so he was describing in great detail where the gamekeeper would find him in order to kill him.  I really do like foxes and the position that they are put in is really so unfair.  The estates like the one I work at (btw I didn't know all this stuff until now) create an unnatural situation by raising hundreds if not thousands of pheasants and partridge in order to shoot them.  The foxes then breed at a rapid rate due to the abundance of food available to them.  The gamekeepers also spend huge amounts of time killing rabbits another source of food for foxes so the whole thing is a fuck up!


So I stood and kept quiet!  You would have been proud of me.  I had to question myself though but this is the new me I have to attend the Annual Shoot BBQ in a week or two where I will get to mingle with over hundred 'shooters' I refuse to call them hunters - they shoot bunnies and birds for goodness sake.  They all seem like very nice guys though, it is a way of life for them, bought up on it and if they knew my real feelings on what they do it could jeopardize my position.


I got to work in the bar last night for the first time in my life - I have never pulled a pint!  It was a lot of fun and keeping busy certainly made the evening go quickly.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Monday 23 May 2011

We have been in the UK for 17 months now and I am really beginning to feel at home.  Talking of home our little blackbird has given us another chance and laid 4 eggs this time (one to make up for the one murdered by Mollie) and they babies hopped out of the nest yesterday and sunned themselves about a metre off the ground.  Kamakaze birds I tell you, we had to keep Mollie all day.


I have also been in my new job for a week and loving it although I have slight panic attacks every now and again at the thought of all the work I have ahead of me but they are very happy with me so I should relax and get some confidence (talking to myself again..) I think the managing of people will always be a problem for me and I am in the damned if you do and damned if you dont area at the moment, should I help or shouldn't I - manage from the sides or just delegate and let them get on with it, ask them or tell them?  

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Serious Catch-up!



Okay so this is my new office!  Yep it is absolutely breathtakingly stunning and I reckon I am going to be tweeting on about it for sometime.  I am feeling really blessed at this moment and for once I am thinking 'now it's my turn'.  The job as the Events Manager initially seemed that it may be more than I would be able to cope with but once I put in my 'thorough application minus a C.V. they wouldn't accept a C.V.' and got a call a couple of hours later and then an invitation to a 2nd interview before the first one ended I started to relax about my abilities.  (My ex-boss has also just text me and said 'perfect for you and you will manage it with your eyes closed' OMG that is something).   I started yesterday and arrived home last night able to remember each and every member of staff that I was introduced to and what they were responsible for - not bad for me considering that I had only expected to remember a handful.


I will basically be responsible for 'selling' the estate, the grounds, the park, the garden, the grand halls and the main money spinner the marquee.  At present they are just sitting around waiting for the phones to ring - and they do, but not enough so I will be putting it on the map so to speak.  It is all so exciting I can hardly breathe, Monday morning I have a photo shoot there with 11 models and photographers from the capital of the country next door to Norway (that is an attempt to confuse google let me know if you think it will work?) and a sculpture display starting Tuesday and a wedding on Saturday...........

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Spring



I had forgotten how beautiful this place is in spring - absolutely beautiful.  Maybe its because everything is smaller - the streets, the shops, the houses, the colour seems more concentrated there are literally flowers everywhere you look.  The daffs have died off now but have been replaced with tulips, and all sorts of other flowers which I unfortunately dont know the names of and of course the trees are covered in blossoms.  I have also discovered that my snotty nose could be hay fever after all.




The teens have been off this week so I have been able to take Erin to riding and I got to go along on the rides using a bicycle that belongs to my crazy friend and in case you are wondering the little rat in the basket is her dog Pookie.    Having had 3 kids hanging off the front and sides of my shopping trolleys over the years definitely came in handy trying to balance this little load in the front.  I have never been much of a cyclist but I think I may be hooked, it was fantastic cycling through the forest.  I then went back to the stables with them and hauled muck for an hour on both occasions and seriously I could hardly walk when I got in last night, I went to bed at 8.30pm.




And tonight we are off to celebrate the start of spring at a friend and yes you guessed it we are having a braai or BBQ Brit style,  DH is head chef so maybe he can show them a thing or two.   And then next week it's the wedding and we are all getting spruced up for that, cant wait!


Monday, 18 April 2011

Update

I haven't updated my blog for 2 weeks and I have no idea why?  I have lots going on, nothing life threatening or anything but important all the same.

 I am feeling very disconnected to a lot of my blogging buddies :(  left out somehow and it's feels unfair as I am able to chat with them just as easily as I could in SA.  Please add me to your whats app if you have it, I have a iphone so bbm doesn't work for me and then we can CHAT.

I am still constantly amazed by technology, yesterday I was reading in bed with my laptop open on the bed too with Devin chatting to us on skype whilst he was connected to Erin's computer downloading some software for her via teamviewer.  It was as if he was in the room with us, I in fact carried on reading whilst he worked listening to him tinkling in the background.   :)

I am taking no photos :( I have my little camera but my biggie is not working and I am not feeling flush enough to send it in besides the fact that I would love to upgrade it anyway, the price to fix it is about half of the cost of a upgraded new one.  Of course this is not the only reason I am not taking pics, my teens are as usual full of the proverbial and landscape pics require my biggie.  Steph - whats your secret you seem to be able to photograph yours teens?

Both Erin and Scott have their heads permanently in their school books, huge exams coming up for Scott and he is putting a lot of effort in.  Erin is working without any nudges - amazing to see, considering that she was completely written off by the South African schools she attended and a couple of others after she wrote their entrance exams.  The school she is at here has a complete remedial centre and I was expecting to hear from them - not once, she is not considered to need any assistance.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Monday

Quite a day today, I wrote 2 exams this morning - PowerPoint and Publisher, I spent a good few hours on them over the weekend so I flew through PP with no mistakes and 2 mistakes in Publisher so I was happy and so was my examiner.  I had planned to write Excel too but thats for another day along with one or two of the others. Judging by my notes Access could take me awhile :(

My little baby birds have hatched, too sweet and too ugly at the same time, featherless little bundles.  The mom and dad are backwards and forwards with worms, all very exciting.  I havent managed to get a pic I tried yesterday but mom was watching me from the fence so I backed off.

Spring has truly sprung around here and I am sooo feeling it.....I am like a real Brit now, if the sun is out so am I :)

It was mothers day here yesterday Erin gave me a box of Thorntons chocs, purple tulips from DH and an iphone speakers set from Scott.  Not bad not bad, for my bunch. 

Friday, 1 April 2011

Life


I woke up this morning thinking about the beautiful house we used to live in in Constantia Cape Town, perfectly situated on a very tree lined street, the trees literally touched each other from across the street and the squirrels would run from tree to tree.   There was a beautiful old church around the corner that we called the Parish church when if fact it was called St. Michael's but it was on Parish Road and just further on the Constantia village shopping centre.  The shopping centre was less than a km from the house. 

Why am I writing this - because with all that lovely sunshine, those beautiful tree lined streets, a shopping centre less than a km away I would get into my petrol guzzling 4 x 4 and DRIVE to the centre, leaving my dogs at home.  Oh how much more balanced a way of life I now live.  Why did I drive, because that is what everyone does there (I am not generalising either), except of course the maids.  The walk would have been perfectly safe during the day, but I wouldn't have been able to tie my dogs up outside the centre though, and had I walked I would certainly have been considered 'different' to say the least. 

I did recycle back then just as I do today but I don't think that would have been enough to offset my 4 x 4's carbon footprint?

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Easter Treat



A blackbird has taken up residence in the creeper against our garage wall - no big deal right?  Well I hang up the washing right in front of her beautiful nest most days (when its not raining) less than metre away and that makes me really nervous I may disturb her but not so, apparently.  I watched her make the nest and now regularly see her sitting in it,  I try not to make eye contact :) Anyhow she has now laid 3 beautiful little eggs, it's the first time I have ever really seen eggs in a nest like this, and such pretty ones, just like you would see on an Easter cupcake.   It all makes me feel really special. 

 In the top pic if you look really close you can see her eye.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

School



Scott is struggling so much at school at the moment.  My heart feels so heavy with worry.  He has always wanted to go to university and because DH and myself never went we of course always wanted him to go too.  I am beginning to realise that this may never happen - college yes, but not university here.  He just won't cut it.  He works so hard, harder than I thought he was capable.   He is so frustrated that his peers pick up a book a couple of days before an exam and they get way better marks.  Of course you may be thinking that this could be due to the interruption in his schooling - mmmm maybe, although he has stuck with the same subjects.   Last year school was a lot easier for him and the transition from SA left him fairly idle.  I am not entirely sure if the system here gets all the kids to what they 'call' school leaving age 16, then gets rid of the non-academics and then take out the big guns for A levels, it sure feels like that to Scott. 

Poor soul has his work stuck up on his ceiling so that he can read it in bed - I knew there had to be a good reason for making the ceilings so low here?

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Tuesday 22 March 2011

  • My sewing has been keeping me so busy lately that I have continued to neglect my blog. 
  • I haven't actually sold one of my covers yet but I am not go to let that get me down.  I need to make more samples and hit the gift shops before the tourists come to town, so now I need a name - any ideas?
  • I collected my Mum today and took her to a couple of shops and ended back at my house for a rare treat - fish and chips.
  • I am in the process of applying for 2 jobs that I fancy, I need to get out more and the longer I am at home the more I realise it is essential for me, isolation just makes me lazy.
  • We are going away for a night this weekend to a party for someone we met 10 years ago in the Maldives.  She visited us years ago in Cape Town, I would hardly call her a friend, but we are going anyway.  She is putting us up in her new fancy house so I am looking forward to a change of scenery.  What to wear is the only problem :(

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

College

I have had my 3rd lesson (1 a week) of my CLAit course (computer literacy and information technology) and I have started excel which I am useless at, I thought I would be able to whizz through it and move onto the more interesting stuff, apparently I will be about 5 weeks on this section :(.   I have started to realise why I felt such incredible pressure at work recently my excel knowledge is shocking.  I sit next to a little old lady (you know how I am sucker for a 'nice' old lady) I asked her yesterday how long she has being doing the course, 8 years she politely told me, I just hope my face didn't register my amusement.  But I am still pretty impressed with her she is in a wheelchair about 80 and suffers with MS.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Secret Crush

Okay this is a completely random post (must be something in the water) but inspired by the TV host this morning - who is your secret crush?

 Well I have a few as you can see and please feel free to add a comment using some pop psychology as to why I fancy 2 men (Steven Tyler and Russell Brand) that look and dress like women????? The other 3, the gorgeous Colin Firth probably my first choice closely followed by Max Beesly (sooooo brooding all the time, I would love to put a smile on his face) and then last but not least Steve Jones but lets face it he is just too pretty for normal day to day wear?

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Week 9

  • Firstly, I am feeling a lot more upbeat maybe it's the flower buds all over the place that are about to burst into flower I even have lots in my own garden that have popped up from nowhere and  I still have 3 roses in a vase from my valentines flowers that I got from Scott (DH gave me perfume).
  • There is a near half page article about me in the paper this morning including a picture (I SERIOUSLY need an eyelid lift) if you are really bored here's the link  Hopefully the above article will bring in loads of business ;)http://www.eadt.co.uk/news/woodbridge_cold_caller_in_dramatic_doorstep_rescue_1_815387
  • We were invited out by some friends to the most charming pub in a neighbouring village, it was absolutely gorgeous but there were probably 3 other people in the pub - very sad!  So all my visitors will be going for a visit to this pub from now on.
  • The people we were with have bought a near derelict property in France with 3 homes on it for the price of an ordinary car back in South Africa.  Very exciting and one day maybe something we would look at doing.  We now know 2 couples that are doing the same thing so their experience will be invaluable.
  • Sunday we were invited out for Sunday late lunch/dinner at my ex boss (I know, I know I called her lots of things whilst I was working for her!) and we had a ball we get on with them so well.  After dinner we played a new version of balderdash, it seems really popular here to play games after dinner.   We all felt very nostalgic on the way home for friends back in South Africa.
  • Oh and my really BIG news - I have started a OCR CLAit I.C.T. course, sounds very fancy doesn't it? With some divine intervention I found a place available in walking distance from the house!!!!!! I mean how does that happen??  It is everything I have needed to learn for ages and ages about I.C.T. I think it will do wonders for my confidence and the best part is I only have to pay for each exam (12).  I would still like to get a good half day job outside of the house sometime soon.  I have realised that I am just not disciplined enough to work from home (I am still in my p.js).
  • Erin is writing her first GCSE maths exam today, poor soul but she has taken it very seriously and even went in an hour early for a revision class so keep your fingers crossed.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Today

I have been feeling really old and useless lately and inspired by Mels post yesterday to mention it here.  I don't know whether I am just have an after mid life crisis because things seem to make me very anxious lately.  I seem to be taking big breaths whenever I think of 'stuff' I would like to do or achieve as if I wont have enough time or energy or good health or even money. 

My hearing is not what it should be but I am not considered to really need a hearing aid - I know I can see you think 'old' at the mention of hearing aid, that's one of my dilemmas people just shove you onto the past sell by date shelf.

 I can't do a thing without my so called reading glasses.  DH, Scott and I went out to one of the neighbouring villages to a popular coffee outlet on Saturday morning and I put salt in all the coffees!! talk about a advert for specsavers, fortunately the owner was most understanding and replaced the coffees but did put the correct sachets on the table with the fresh coffees.

 I went to movies last week with a friend to see The Black Swan, brilliant but we were the youngest people there!  I think I need a job that gets me out and about more I am not sure this SAHM or work from home Mum is the answer for me I am just not disciplined enough.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Soul Searching

Erin's bedroom has not improved at all.  On her birthday 10 days ago I asked her if she would like me to clean and tidy her room, she happily agreed and in fact stood at the door most of the time chatting away without a care in the world.  I asked her whether she like the room neat and tidy and clean and she didn't have any real opinion on it.  Fast forward about a week and the room looked like it did before I cleaned it and after a couple of pushes I stormed in there and took away her GHD, laptop, and her new Blackberry not realising that her ipod is wi-fi enabled :( so I only removed that 2 days later.  All hell broke loose and she was impossible for days on end.  The house has been a war zone and totally unpleasant for everyone. 

She stormed in from school on Monday and stomped upstairs and came down looking all dolled up and promptly told me she was going out.  OMG my heart stopped and I suddenly realised what was really important to me.  She was only going out to a friend for a birthday dinner so it was all fine but it certainly got me thinking.  She is a 'good' girl, she doesn't smoke, drink, mess around with boys, play truant, she is not particularly cheeky in fact she is generally a happy soul, kind but not always that considerate, helps me only occasionally in the house but is often happy to make a meal or sort out the dogs.  So what have I decided?? 

To give her all her stuff back and allow her to keep her room the way she sees fit after all I have noticed that lots of people don't have houses as clean or tidy as I like to keep mine but I do see some that are are so I am not happy to be considered OTT or compulsive about tidyness - just normal.

Thing is I love her lots and just wish her only happiness and hopefully one day we will meet somewhere in the middle.





Monday, 14 February 2011

My Good Deed

Whilst out on my canvasing this afternoon I knocked on a door, heard nothing but thought I saw something move through the glass pane.  The next thing a set of keys were being pushed through the letterbox and a very weak voice asking for help.  Poor little old lady (in her 80's) had fallen and pulled herself to the front door and had been lying there very shaken and frail for sometime.  I managed to lift her up and get her into a chair, I made her a cup of tea and she then asked me what I was doing there :) we had a little laugh together because she didn't have any pets.  I called her daughter whom assured me she would go over and check on her.  Perfect to uplift mood!!

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Just a bit depressed

Yeah I have been really flat the last couple of weeks I took myself off to the Dr. yesterday as I am ticking all the boxes, not enjoying things I used to enjoy, wanting to sleep all the time, avoiding speaking to people and my senses seem to be lessened.  The Dr. recommended I get more exercise and a SAD lamp or move to London where there is a bit more action :)  I am also on a diet and my food seems so bland I have even lost my appetite.  What a drip!


I am putting in more hours on the pet food side and really enjoying that although it is going to be another year before we see any real financial reward.  A year is a long time which isn't helping my mood at the moment.  The job is fun though and you never know what to expect behind every door. I sold to one customer recently and then discovered that he has 6 adult Great Danes and he goes through 15 15kg bags of dog food a month, that's like 15 new customer in one hit and then I end up sitting with a little old lady for an hour who has a miniature dachshund.  

My teens are also feeling a bit down poor old Scott is feeling isolated because of his morals and is finding it difficult to mix with his peers as all they talk about is sex, drink and TV games.  Erin is in pretty much the same position with most of her class mates too.  Keeping them on the straight and narrow is easier said than done.  At least in our day our parents had a inkling of who we mixed with and what we were doing just from the phone calls we used to get at home - now of course that doesn't happen.  I don't think my teens have ever had a call at home.   

All is not lost though, the buds are out and spring is around the corner, bring it on...

Friday, 4 February 2011

Random

  • Not sure if the SAHM thing is for me - I seem to get lazier by the day.
  • I have started the Slimming World diet, I don't normally mention that I am dieting because I am rubbish at it - but I am sticking to this one.  I need to lose about 15kgs!!!
  • I went to a friends house on Sunday night (girls night) she lives about 500m away.  Walking home in the dark is still totally bizarre to me.  I ran through the dark bits completely freaked out.  I am not sure I will ever get used to it although my teens have, Scott walks home at midnight often.
  • It is Erin's birthday on Sunday she will be 15! I am a bit depressed about not being able to go all out for the 3rd year in a row.  We are still not where I would like to be financially.  She won't mind though she is so easy to please.  Scott on the other hand....
  • I think we all need a holiday.  The dull days are getting to all of us we are even starting to mention it when the sun pops through the clouds.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Suck it up!






 When you live in the countryside shooting or hunting as they apparently call it (I cant help smiling when I think of a man shooting a bird as a HUNTER just doesn't gel if you know what I mean) is par for the course.  I have often, very often heard the gun shots of late, I thought I had left those behind in SA but no such luck.  So as I tend to do, I have learned as much about it as possible short of participating and I have even bravely sat and watched it.  Unless you go off the so called 'main' road you don't get to see the guys after all they are all bravely dressed up in the colour of the landscape so you need pretty good eye sight from a car to spot them whilst you are driving.  DH and I had reason to go down a dirt road and just happened upon a 'shoot/hunt'.  OMG what a fascinating sight and it took me awhile to figure out what I was seeing.  We parked the car we had no choice really because the guard type guy wouldn't let us carry on down the road for fear of us getting shot or worse still I could have been one of the crazy people that try to stop this type of thing ;).  So in tears I sat and watched whilst beautiful pheasants were just dropping out of the sky.  The shooting wasn't as bad as the bird jerking around on the ground for what seems like ages and ages, DH tried to assure me that it was just the nervous system but the tears just ran uncontrollably down my face.  I called the sight 'fascinating' purely because it is all so organised and regal in a way.  Most of the guys (and women sometimes) had a black Labrador (not sure why there were no yellow ones perhaps this was the black labbie club) anyhow there were at least 20-30 men dotted around a few acres of bare land with a greenbelt through the middle where another bunch of guys with dogs were busy 'flushing' out the birds using long sticks to frighten the birds into taking to the sky which of course they did.  The Labradors were the most fascinating they sit perfectly awaiting a signal from the shooter/hunter to collect the fallen bird, and the signal seems to come from a hunt leader to all the dogs and a collection was made at what looked like the end of the shoot.  The hunters then moved off to the next field and started again.  I know you are probably bored of all this hunting talk but I have so much more to say about it so I may do a second post tomorrow. 

  There is a more sinister side to all of this, I have been told by a number of sources that these pheasants are reared by a games man and he dutifully feeds them regularly to the sound of a whistle and at the 'right' time they are released in order to be shot but the hunters use this same sound in order to trick them into thinking they are going to be fed. 

 I have used so many pics because these were taken on farms literally bordering our estate and they also illustrate that bleak landscape I wrote of yesterday.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Bleak

Not me particularly although I am not exactly bouncing off the walls, no, the landscape.  Totally bleak.  We have been in this part of the UK since we moved here from SA so what's different?  Last year this time I was rushing from interview to interview, the excitement of just moving here and all that goes with it and last year it was still snowing.  Snow such pretty stuff but when it melts it leaves behind it a blackened mushy landscape that is just not pretty at all.  When the snow melts it also exposes litter, strange I know but after the prettiness of the snow the shock of the litter that it has covered over for weeks on end and then there are the dog poos that disappear into the snow when they are deposited but are still there when the snow melts.  I told you it's bleak.


I think I have a little dose of SAD as I am really looking forward to some warmer weather and within 2 months the landscape is going to start looking gorgeous.  Where we live it is farmland, it is the flatest part of the UK so it is used for crops and all the fields are brown at the moment so no pretty green fields with fat black and white cows just the odd starving rabbit trying to find a meal.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Doggie People

I have always considered myself to be a doggie person and a serious one at that - NOT.  After yesterday I am sooo not hard core.  I have now started working with DH and yesterday went out on a few 'taste trials'.  The customer (the pet) gets a chance to try out the food before their owner buys, so a bit of holding my breath going on yesterday, not a problem though all of them loved it.  

I arrived at the first taste trial and could hear the dog THROWING itself against the door, heard the owner put it away before coming to the door with the other dog in her arms (to stop it running in the road), okay chaos already as the dog that was locked away was barking up a storm.  She lets the barking dog out and it then proceeds to run around like a lunatic!! I noticed that its behaviour seemed a little strange, turns out the dog is blind, has a severe hair lip and some sort of brain damage.  OMG!  It later took a polite little dump in a corner because obviously not so easy to train a brain damaged dog.  Poor woman certainly made of much stronger stuff than myself.  I don't think I could  couldn't have taken on an such a needy animal.

The next trial the woman had 4 dogs in a house the size of ours, all very clean mind you but again chaos! She had taken in a friends dog because she got divorced and one of the other dogs belonged to her father but his new girlfriend doesn't like it.  Again, no-ways I would have done it.

So I think I may be normal after all.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Technology

This week I have been totally 'blown away' by technology.  Humour me here okay?

It was my Mums 80th on Wednesday and Scott called Devin in Joburg so that he could speak to Granny, he called him from his iPhone on Skye - free and then handed the phone to my Mum with the speaker phone on and of course Devin appeared on the screen - whoa, seriously, I was quite taken aback.  I had been using my iPhone as a mini computer but had never realised that I had the facility on my phone.   Imagine how my Mum felt although she is not the most demonstrative person around so it certainly looked like I was the more impressed.  I then called my mate Mel this morning from my iPhone to try it out and there she was in all her glory with her brood at the ready for a chat.  So yes, I am even more impressed with my iPhone which is only the iPhone 3GS so maybe I will have to upgrade to the 4.

And then this baby: 
The Tesco Grocery bar code scanner iPhone app, which enables customers to buy products while on the go. I am loving it, Mel I reckon this is enough to get you to move to the UK?  Have a walk around the kitchen, bathroom etc. and just scan away and order - hey presto the guy delivers it the next day.  We had our first delivery the week and I am hooked.